Purple haze identifies rips
POINTING to the purple haze to identify rips for swimmers, Surf Life Saving Australia is highlighting the biggest killer on Australian beaches once again this summer.
Spelling out the safety message, better than any brochure or warning sign can, surf dye tests are clearly getting the message across to the uninitiated.
Surf life savers have performed the drill across NSW to mark Rip Current Awareness Day.
As the greatest hazard to beachgoers, rip currents contribute to majority of all swimming deaths on the nation's beaches.
Surf Life Saving NSW lifesaving manager Dean Storey said educating people about rips is a top priority for the organisation.
"Every summer we see thousands of beachgoers get into trouble because they did not identify a rip current," Mr Storey said.
"We want to make sure everyone knows how to spot one so they can avoid them in the first place, but, of course the best way to avoid a rip is to only swim at patrolled beaches, between the red and yellow flags."
Surf Life Saving and the University of New South Wales have partnered to conduct research on rip currents.
Coastal and social scientists are working to more accurately understand rip current flows and trajectories.
University of NSW surf scientist, Dr Rob Brander, said the research was groundbreaking.
"It will provide new information about how Australian rips behave and for the first time will focus on surveying and talking to people who have actually been caught in rips to let their experiences improve future rip current education programs," Dr Brander said.
The research that's undertaken will play a pivotal role in the future development of beach safety initiatives.
The first publication of this research has already been successful, winning a NSW Government Water Safety Award for Research Project of the Year.
Surf Life Saving and the University of New South Wales are also surveying people who have been caught in a rip current.
They are being asked how did you get in the rip? how did you react? and how did you get out?
The survey is available online at www.sls.com.au